Every job has its negatives, right? That is certainly true of flatbed truck driving. Flatbed trailers, also known as open-deck trailers, are perfect for hauling loads that do not necessarily fit nicely into a dry goods van. But open decks come with their own disadvantages. For example, drivers have to tie down their own loads and then cover them with tarps.
Cargo control is the most labor-intensive part of driving a flatbed. But it is more than just hard work. Cargo control represents a task for which drivers do not get paid – because the wheels aren’t moving during the process. It should be no surprise to learn the truckers want to complete the loading, unloading, and cargo securement processes as quickly as possible.
In light of all of this, there are two big things that frustrate flatbed truckers no end. According to a recent survey that interviewed 258 truckers and the relationships they have with their brokers, drivers find the following two things extremely frustrating:
1. A Lack of Communication
The survey revealed that 59% of flatbed truckers are generally satisfied with their brokers. Nonetheless, 50% also made it clear that communication with brokers is poor. This is not good for a number of reasons.
First of all, drivers rely on the information provided by brokers to determine whether they can handle a given load or not. They have to have accurate information about what a load entails, what the delivery schedule is, where it is going, and so forth. A driver cannot make solid plans without solid information.
Unfortunately, the survey also revealed that some brokers have no problem with being less than forthright. According to one particular broker, they make it a practice to offer as few details as possible in order to avoid scaring drivers away from challenging loads.
Mytee Products, an Ohio supplier of cargo control equipment, says this makes life extremely difficult for flatbed drivers. If they don’t know what to expect from a load, the entire cargo control strategy is up in the air. The driver doesn’t know what needs to be done until the load is on the trailer.
2. Unnecessary Shipping Delays
The second frustrating thing is a direct result of the first: delays in shipping because drivers do not have the necessary information to make plans. And who gets blamed when shipping is delayed? It’s not the broker; it is the driver.
Let’s assume a given load is unusually large or heavy, thus requiring special permits. What happens when a driver shows up to receive the load without knowing in advance? He then must take time to go obtain the permits before he can load, hook up, and drive away. This can delay shipping by a day or more.
It is completely reasonable to expect drivers to be frustrated when these sorts of things happen. Delays reduce their paychecks, harm their reputations, and make it a lot more difficult to do what they do.It should be pointed out that delays or not limited just to permit issues. Even something as simple as not having loading ramps or blocks on board could keep a truck off the road for at least a couple of hours.
There is a lot that goes into flatbed trucking. They include good communication and good relationships with brokers. When brokers are not forthright with drivers, they are doing both themselves and the drivers they so desperately need a disservice.It’s true what they say: honesty is the best policy. It is a policy brokers and shippers should adopt as a matter of course.